NTSB Identification: CEN13LA109
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 18, 2012 in Grand Isle, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/11/2013
Aircraft: BEECH A23, registration: N3573R
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The student pilot reported that he completed two full-stop landings without incident. He stated that, during the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern for the third landing, the turn was “rushed” due to the traffic. While on the downwind leg, the tower controller advised the student of traffic, and the leg was extended. The student stated that, during his prelanding instrument check, he noted that the selected right fuel tank was empty and that he then selected the left fuel tank, which indicated that 3/8 of a tank of fuel was remaining. Shortly thereafter, the engine lost power, and the student pilot landed it to a field on airport property. The student pilot stated that, immediately after the forced landing, he started the airplane and taxied back to the ramp with the left fuel tank still selected. A mechanic inspected the engine fuel injection system and found no blockage or contamination in the distribution manifold or the fuel injector nozzles. He also drained the remaining fuel from both fuel tanks and found that the right fuel tank had 1.5 quarts of fuel remaining and that the left fuel tank had 19.75 gallons of fuel remaining. Therefore, it is likely that the student pilot was distracted by airport traffic and did not switch from the empty fuel tank to the fuel tank with fuel remaining in a timely manner, thus starving the engine of fuel. Given the proximity to the ground, the student pilot did not have time to attempt to restart the engine.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The student pilot's inadequate fuel management due to distraction by airport traffic, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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